But did you know that children as young as 6 months of age could be affected? It can be the case, as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a form of RA that begins anytime before the age of 16. This article will answer common questions to help you better understand this painful condition, as well as the treatment options.
3 Distinct Types of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
The most frequently diagnosed type of arthritis in youngsters. Thankfully, it is also the mildest form of juvenile arthritis. Pain is often experienced in the ankles, knees, fingers, elbows, and hips; however, any joint can hurt.
Another type of juvenile arthritis, rarely diagnosed. Complications are frequent. Pain is intense and quite often excruciating. Just about every joint in the body is at risk of painful sensation. It may also spread to other body organs.
The third known type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is not as frequent as pauciarticular arthritis, but it causes more pain. More joints might be affected. This condition evolves and worsens over time.
Prognosis for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is generally good, with around 70% of the affected children who outgrow the disease. Effective treatment plan increases the chance of a favorable evolution.
What symptoms would present a child affected by JRA?
For any parents, it can be tricky to recognize the first symptoms of arthritis in their children, especially toddlers. Often, young children do not know how to talk about their pain. Signs of pain in a child could be: persistent frown, position of flexion, difficulty sleeping, mood swings or irritability. JRA presents itself with other symptoms than joint pain: there is also joint swelling and stiffness, difficulty walking, fatigue.
What exactly is causing arthritis in children?
Medical experts can’t seem to decide on one particular answer. Many factors could play a role:
- Most experts assume that juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is attributable to an overactive immune system. The body’s defense mechanism starts attacking the joint tissues.
- Some virus could cause the onset of certain forms of JRA.
- Distinct genes would be responsible for long-term attacks. A family history of arthritis may increase a child’s risk.
What are the treatment options?
Fortunately, children struggling with rheumatoid arthritis have several options.
Children affected by arthritis may experience severe and unbearable pain. It is crucial to offer them proper relief. Without medication, they can struggle to function on a daily basis.
It is important to follow the doctor’s recommendation for pain relief medications. They are specifically adjusted for the age and weight of the child. Cortisone is avoided because of its negative impact on growth.
Pain medication is not the only way to seek relief. For that reason, parents and caretakers must understand the importance of exercise. Physical therapy can help in learning therapeutic movements that parents and patients are encouraged to practice at home. Low impact activities like swimming, bicycling or dancing are beneficial.
Frequent exercise can be challenging for youngsters who feel pain, however it is crucial. Movement prevents stiffness and deformities and preserves muscle function.
Relaxation and distraction
Distraction works wonderfully with children to take their attention away many problems, like pain. Anything can do: a good laugh, a special activity, an entertaining movie…
Relaxation is a form of distraction. It is of great help at bedtime. Good relaxation techniques for kids: yoga, visualization, massage, music.
In summary, we have learned that rheumatoid arthritis can affect individuals of various age groups; it does not discriminate. There are 3 different types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, each with its specific pattern. The treatment plan include pain medication, exercise and relaxation. Regular medical follow-up is essential.
If you are the parent of a child who is prone to joint pain or difficulty moving, do not overlook rheumatoid arthritis. Consult a doctor.
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